Click to Print

Attention, Please

The art of creating buzz isn't hard to master--just keep these points in mind.
June 1, 2004
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/70964

So you want to be on the cover of a magazine, do you? Though you may not be a supermodel or a high-profile celebrity, you can still get some media coverage for your company. A good editorial mention of you or your product or service can drum up business, add credibility and help get your name in front of prospects.

Making headlines is easier than you think. Just ask Christin Powell, founder of Juice Beauty Inc., an organic beauty company in Mill Valley, California. Powell, a former business development executive, knew the media would be key to launching her brand.

"The beauty industry is driven by the media," says Powell, 37. "We started building our strategy: How are we going to get above the noise?" The product launch was so crucial, Powell hired an experienced New York PR agency to help spread the word to beauty editors. In July 2001, the company started courting the media for stories that ended up appearing in magazines around its launch time in November of that year.

Knowing the long lead times of print publications and working within those parameters is key to getting coverage-as is pitching media that's appropriate to your audience. Powell, for example, knew her products had an audience in both consumer fashion and beauty magazines as well as spa and organically themed publications.

As a result of her concentrated pitching and follow-up, she has seen her line of products mentioned in publications such as Allure, Lucky and on Elle's Web site, to name a few. Today, she handles the PR on her own and expects sales to hit $1.4 million this year.

After targeting the news outlets you wish to be covered in, be willing to drop everything to make the reporter or producer's deadline. When Rachel Goldberger and Vanessa Smiley, co-founders of Pink Confection LLC, were marketing their line of luxurious bath and body items for mothers-to-be, they marketed their story to consumer publications and TV shows that covered pregnancy issues.

When they heard the Dr. Phil show was putting together a pregnancy show, they wasted no time contacting producers to offer free samples for use on the show. The day after their second appearance on the Dr. Phil show, Pink Confection's Web site received 1,500 hits. Since appearing on the show, Goldberger, 29 and Smiley, 30, have seen the number of Web site hits soar from less than 80 per day to 150 per day-increasing sales exponentially for this Union, New Jersey, company.

Says Goldberger: "It's just being willing to talk to [the media] and give them whatever they need. [What if] we'd said 'No, we're not going to call this TV show'?"

Meet the Press

Getting someone in the media to interview you about your business is one thing. But getting ready for your moment in the spotlight is another. "Preparation is a big issue," says Victoria Chorbajian, public speaking coach, media trainer and founder of Chorbajian Speaking Enterprises in Paramus, New Jersey. "When someone wants to interview you, find out the angle of the interview or article. Why do they want you as the source or guest on the show? Understand what types of questions and information they want to get out of you."

Keep your responses brief-no more than 40 seconds in TV interviews. Respond with short illustrations of your point. And, says Chorbajian, "When you're on a TV show, it's not just what we say and how we say it, it's how we look, our facial expressions, our hand gestures-even if your nose [itches], don't scratch it." She also advises wearing appropriate business attire, being well-groomed and arriving a bit early, if possible. Do it right, and you'll shine like a star.